Baked Apples

  • 1⁄2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 3 tablespoons roughly chopped dried cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4 large firm baking apples, cored but not peeled
  • 1⁄2 cup apple juice or apple cider
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • Plain fat-free yogurt
  • Preheat the oven to 400°F. Stir together the nuts, dried cranberries, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a small bowl; set aside. Place the apples in a baking dish and spoon the nut mixture into the apples. Stir together apple juice and maple syrup; pour into the bottom of the baking dish. Bake apples, uncovered, in the preheated oven for 25 to 35 minutes or until tender, basting occasionally with liquid in dish. Cool slightly before serving. Serve with yogurt. Serves 4.

Grilled Pineapple

    • 1 slice of fresh pineapple, 1⁄2 inch thick
    • 1⁄2 cup plain nonfat yogurt, cottage cheese, or ricotta cheese (optional)
    • Preheat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Place the pineapple slice on the heated grill pan and cook on both sides until grill marks form and the pineapple is heated through. Transfer to a plate. Top with yogurt, if desired. Serves 1.

Individual Ricotta Cheesecakes

    • 6 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese (Neufchâtel), softened
    • 3⁄4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
    • 2 tablespoons honey
    • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest or 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 3 egg whites
    • Sliced strawberries or blueberries or all-fruit jam
    • Fresh mint leaves (optional)
    • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 10 muffin cups with paper liners. Combine cream cheese, ricotta cheese, honey, lemon zest, and vanilla in a large bowl. Whisk together until well combined; set aside. Place egg whites in a large mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form. Gently fold the egg whites into the cheese mixture. Divide evenly among the muffin cups. Place muffin pan on the middle rack of the preheated oven. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until set. Remove from the oven. Cheesecakes will be puffed but will fall as they cool. When the cheesecakes have cooled, place in an airtight container and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight. Just before serving, top with berries or jam (1⁄2 teaspoon jam per cheesecake). Garnish with mint, if desired. Makes 10 cheesecakes.

Banana-Nut Pops

  • 4 wooden sticks or short bamboo skewers
  • 2 firm ripe bananas, peeled and halved crosswise
  • 4 12-inch squares aluminum foil
  • 1 ounce 70 percent dark chocolate, finely grated
  • 1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter

Insert a wooden stick into each banana half. Place each on a square of foil. Place the chocolate on a plate. Heat the peanut butter in a small dish in the microwave oven until barely warm but spreadable. Coat each banana half with a thin layer of peanut butter; roll in the chocolate. Wrap each banana tightly in foil. Freeze at least 2 hours or up to 2 weeks. Serves 4.

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